India women's hockey coach Janneke Schopman resigns | Hockey - Hindustan Times
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India women's hockey coach Janneke Schopman resigns

ByAvishek Roy, New Delhi
Feb 24, 2024 06:27 AM IST

The 46-year-old, whose contract originally ran till August, failed to guide the team to the Paris Olympics

India's women's hockey team coach Janneke Schopman has resigned from her position just days after hitting out at Hockey India for preferential treatment meted out to the men's national team.

Janneke Schopman, whose tenure was to end in August this year, has sent her resignation to Hockey India (HI)(PTI)
Janneke Schopman, whose tenure was to end in August this year, has sent her resignation to Hockey India (HI)(PTI)

Schopman, whose tenure was to end after the Paris Olympics in August this year, sent her resignation letter to Hockey India (HI).

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“I would like to inform that I am tendering my resignation as the chief coach of the senior women’s team by giving Hockey India and SAI one month notice as per my contract agreement. My last working day will be March 23, 2024,” Schopman wrote in her resignation letter.

“My time with the team has been a memorable experience and I will always look back with a sense of gratitude to players and staff especially. I kindly request that all outstanding dues are paid and taken care of before this date, my salary for the months of February and March, the coach education fee as well as the outstanding prize money for last year,” she wrote.

Schopman arrived here on Thursday and met HI officials. "She made her intentions clear that she doesn't want to continue anymore. The letter has been forwarded to SAI with favourable recommendation, " said an official in the know.

An HI official said Schopman was provided everything she had asked for the team during her tenure. “The women’s team not making it to the Paris Olympics was a big blow. Every facility, exposure was given to the team and to say that she was not valued and respected was totally baseless,” said the official.

This brings down the curtain to a bitter saga that started with the women's team not qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympics. The Indian team lost two opportunities to qualify for Olympics, first at the Asian Games and then, at the FIH Olympic qualifiers at home in Ranchi where the team went down 0-1 to Japan in third-fourth place match.

The non-qualification led to much criticism of Schopman, who had taken over the reins from Dutchman Sjoerd Marijne after the team had finished fourth at the Tokyo Olympics, and the team. Schopman, a former Dutch hockey player, was then the analytical coach.

Despite the setback, HI had initially decided to continue with Schopman but her outburst against HI last week after India's Pro League match against US in Rourkela showed that she was pretty much done with the job.

Schopman broke down during an interaction with reporters in the mixed zone.

"I felt alone a lot in the last two years, " the 46-year-old had said. "It has been very hard. Because, I come from a culture where women are respected and valued. I don’t feel that here. I look at the difference at how men’s coaches are treated between me and the men’s coach, or the girls and the men’s team, just in general."

One of the big controversies during Schopman’s tenure was the omission of former captain Rani Rampal, under whom the team finished a historic fourth at the Paris Olympics. The former hockey captain spent three years on the sidelines except for a brief stint in South Africa last year where she scored three goals. The team without its lynchpin, 29-year-old Rampal, never looked the same.

Under Schopman, the Indian team had a record of 38 wins in 74 matches. They also drew 17 and lost 19 matches. The gold medal in the Nation's Cup Asian Champions Trophy was a high point but the failure to make the Olympics was probably the final nail in the coffin.

HI, in a statement, said, "on the back of the disappointment at Olympic qualifiers, Schopman’s resignation has paved the way for Hockey India to look for a suitable chief coach for the women’s hockey team who could prepare the team for the 2026 World Cup and 2028 Los Angeles Olympics."

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